Kraken Con was back and in full swing, with a new location for one time only. Yes, this Autumn’s Kraken Con took place on the USS Hornet Museum, taking the con to the ship and bringing all the guests and cosplayers that the con is known for.
In fact, attendance was absolutely maxed out, and the con was filled with happy attendees, eager to experience all the event had to offer and meet its guests.
There was plenty to offer, too. Kraken Con attendees got to experience all the attractions of the Hornet, including a flight simulator and a haunted maze. That was at no additional cost, as it was included with the admission.
For a basic layout, one can imagine the convention split into three levels: on the docks, inside the ship, and on the flight deck.
The docks was where checkin was located, but more importantly, there were food trucks. Since there were no nearby restaurants to stop at (and normally Kraken Con has a map of all nearby locations, with prices), Kraken Con kindly brought the food to us. A personal recommendation would be the waffle truck, which was delicious.
Inside the ship was where the dealer’s hall was located, along with a small snack booth, and the Hornet’s various attractions. The dealers and artists were set up so that one could easily wander around, checking out all there was for sale. At one end there was a photo booth, where OscarC Photography was getting pictures of any and all attendees, as well as a theater and a spot where people could get photos of themselves in a jet fighter cockpit. On the opposite end was a cosplay station, and near that a screening room.
For those just wandering and checking out the sights, Kraken Con provided a few nice ways to pass the time. There were scavenger hunts to do, where one would have to decode clues to lead them to different locations and booths, where they’d get a stamp or another clue, to earn small prizes. Kraken Con also offers little trading cards, which can be obtained from going to certain tables or events, for a little collectible touch which many enjoyed.
Following the stairs to the flight deck, one could find more attractions. On one end of the ship were several jets for people to check out and pose with, but on the other end was where the main attractions were held. While waiting in line for autographs, attendees could watch “The Squiddly Show,” where David Studebaker interviewed each of the guests, and they held Q&A sessions with the audience. The stage area had plenty of seats and shade, so people wanting to rest their feet could relax and watch the shows and cosplay masquerade. Nearby was a booth selling takoyaki, for very thematically-appropriate snacks.
Around the same area, cosplayers held gatherings for the series they were cosplaying from. Splatoon, Black Lagoon, and Kantai Collection all had gatherings, which were well-attended. After all, the location lent itself to the series very well, and attendees managed to get some great pictures that made the most of the carrier’s docks.
Given that one of the guests was Zach Callison, who voices the protagonist in Steven Universe, there were also quite a few SU cosplayers in attendance. As is common for conventions, many cosplaying attendees chose their costumes according to the guests, so in addition to Steven and the Crystal Gems, there were many cosplayers from Neon Genesis Evangelion, Kim Possible, and League of Legends.
Along with Zach, there were some other great guests. There was Christy Carlson Romano, known for her role as the voice of Kim Possible, Ren in Even Stevens, and Yuffie in Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. Sarah Williams was there, bringing her vocal talents as Jinx from League of Legends, Sayaka from Madoka Magica, Lisbeth from Sword Art Online, and Nonon from Kill La Kill. And of course, veteran voice actor Tiffany Grant was there, bringing Evangelion’s Asuka back to aircraft carrier.
Throughout the day, the guests held autograph sessions, where attendees could get one free autograph, often on a free print they provided. When they weren’t signing autographs, they could occasionally be found at the aforementioned Squiddly Show, or at their own panels.
But before the convention opened, Kraken Con allowed us and other press organizations in, so we could get a private Q&A session with each of the guests. Keep an eye on G33k-HQ, as we’ll be posting the interviews throughout the next few days!
At the end of the day, people departed from the USS Hornet and Kraken Con tired but happy, if maybe a little sunburnt. It was a unique experience, for a convention to be held on an aircraft carrier, and not one that will be forgotten any time soon. The staff worked hard to make the location work, and in spite of a few lines around the stairs here and there, it worked very well.
The next Kraken Con will be held April 23-24, 2016, at the Oakland Convention Center. In the meantime, keep an eye out for more cosplay galleries and event coverage that we’ll have up soon.
All photos taken by Perry “Agent P” Louie